Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hand off

I went to see an patient with Alzheimer's and his daughter for the last time.  I've been visiting them since last summer, usually one or two times a month.  The patient can be combative at times, especially during personal care.  My hat is off to his daughter, not only for caring for this sometimes difficult man, but also because he abused her and her siblings when they were young.  Somehow she found the strength to forgive him and believes he deserves to be comfortable as he dies, in spite of the father he was. 

Whenever possible, I try to time my visits with the hospice RN.  I hold his hands while she changes the dressings on the wounds or changes the catheter.  For whatever reason, he stays calm when I'm holding his hands and listens to my words of reassurance as he's repositioned and tended to.  As I walked into his room this afternoon, he actually reached his hand out to me!  He's never done that before, although sometimes he seems to recognize me.  It was sweet to hold his hands one last time today.

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